MCCC Continues Alternate Route Teacher Certification


More than twenty aspiring teachers have signed up and are preparing to begin alternate route teacher training starting at Mercer County Community College in June. "New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey" is now starting its second year.

Program instructor Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick, who is principal of Stony Brook Elementary School in Hopewell, said he is extremely pleased with the progress of the students in last year’s class. "They found that in the course of a year they acquired strength and effectiveness that even surprised themselves," he said.

Program participants earn 15 graduate credits through New Jersey City University (NJCU), a partner with Mercer and other New Jersey community colleges. There are three program components: this summer's Pre-Service program (Phase I), the Core program (Phase II) from September through May, and a Capstone Summer Institute in June 2005. To begin the program, students must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Fitzpatrick said the program has drawn people with strength in math and science especially, as there is a shortage of teachers in those areas.

Fitzpatrick observed that in today's complex society, teachers need to be well versed in many areas. "You have to know child development and lesson development, behavior management and community relations," he said.

Lynn Coopersmith, associate dean at MCCC, said this year's class will have an easier time securing the required "Certificate of Eligibility" from the Department of Education. "The process has been streamlined so that students can now apply directly to the participating community colleges for their certificates," she said.

The program's curriculum builds upon the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree available through NJCU. Students are introduced to the realities of teaching as a career and will focus on needed skills and classroom management. At the end of the summer, participants may continue in Phase II if they are employed as an alternate route teacher, or if they are continuing with the program for graduate credit and have obtained a Certificate of Eligibility and have access to a hands-on teaching position with children.

For more information visit or contact Lynn Coopersmith, associate dean of MCCC's Division of Corporate and Community Programs, 609-586-4800, ext. 3281, or email

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